Kuczynski sworn in as Peru's new president

Mr Kuczynski is a former Wall Street banker and a centre-right economist with an impressive resume. He was educated at Oxford University and Princeton, and has had stints as economy minister and a World Bank economist.
Mr Kuczynski is a former Wall Street banker and a centre-right economist with an impressive resume. He was educated at Oxford University and Princeton, and has had stints as economy minister and a World Bank economist.PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

LIMA (Peru) • Former Wall Street banker Pedro Pablo Kuczynski has been inaugurated as Peru's new president, vowing to kick-start the economy and unite a country torn by a photo-finish election.

The 77-year-old centre-right economist extended an olive branch to defeated rival Keiko Fujimori's party, which controls Congress, saying he would need their help to pass reforms.

He promised to work for all Peruvians, outlining his vision for a "social revolution" in his inaugural address before Congress. "I will seek equity, equality and fraternity among all Peruvians," said the man known simply as PPK. Peru needs "not just economic, but human growth", he said, vowing to extend basic services such as schools, hospitals and drinking water to the one-third of Peruvians who lack them.

The normally staid Mr Kuczynski choked up as he took the oath of office, then donned his new red-and- white presidential sash over his pinstriped suit.

Mr Kuczynski, the son of a Jewish doctor who fled Nazi Germany, has had a long career in business and finance. Educated at Oxford University and Princeton, he has an impressive resume, including stints as economy minister and a World Bank economist. He stressed his age and experience during the campaign. But he sometimes struggles to connect with ordinary Peruvians.

He speaks Spanish with an American accent, betraying his long years in the United States. Some Peruvians call him "El Gringo".

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 30, 2016, with the headline 'Kuczynski sworn in as Peru's new president'. Print Edition | Subscribe